Tricks For Improving Reach With Social Media Advertising

January 29, 2015

Social media advertising is a must for a successful marketing mix. Here’s what to keep in mind and how to make sense of the different targeting options available.

Let’s face it, the days of organic social media are dead. The sandbox has been dirtied by the mass market creating more noise than any one feed can handle and more content marketing to fill a million ice buckets. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that organic social should not be part of a marketing program. It’s important. What I am saying is, relying solely on organic reach to meet lofty corporate marketing goals is unrealistic at this stage.

This statement is killing marketing:

“Facebook is our community.”

It has marketers wondering why they are only getting reach of 134 people on 20,000 fans. On Facebook it’s complicated. The Open Graph algorithm changes frequently and like the chase to unlock the Google search algorithm, it’s a game of marketing whac-a-mole. Facebook started out as an organic space and it is no longer. It is an advertising platform with a ton of great ways to incorporate engagement and extra reach you can earn organically through being a quality player. It’s important to incorporate a balanced program of organic and paid social into your marketing mix to maximize reach across all social networks. 

Organic reach in social media has become harder to acquire. Social media is no longer “new media”. It happened. It’s crowded, and noisy, and competitive with echoes of sameness vying for the attention of consumers. There are few surprises anymore, they’ve seen it all. What is a marketer to do? I say get back to your roots, focus on your business – what your good at. What will stand apart is quality execution of content and conversations that are highly relevant to your core customer. If you have all of that in place, then you’re ready to move to the next stage of investing in a social advertising mix. At Fandom Marketing I’ve tested advertising in the most popular social networks. Here’s what to consider.

Little Known Facebook & Twitter Targeting

Facebook and Twitter have fantastic targeting tools which you can’t get with organic posting alone. I love this most about social advertising, in addition to being able to throttle instant reach.

The targeting options in Facebook and Twitter are almost identical. Here are a few that I find interesting.

Localization: In addition to the usual demographics (age, sex, even sexual preference) you can target down to a 10 mile radius of a city/town in Facebook or a list of zip codes in Twitter. This is useful to localized marketing for retail and services.

International: For International reach, both cover many countries across the globe. All the important ones at least. There are also language filters and fortunately for American companies, a lot of people in other countries speak more than one language. English being tops.

Your Email List: You can upload a list of emails to Facebook and Twitter (to a private, secure server) to target newsletter subscribers, customers or leads you’ve collected. It will serve your message up to those who have matching emails in their social media profiles. In my tests this has by far produced the best engagement and conversation rates. Because they want to hear from you!

Target Specific People on Twitter: If you have a rep you can access custom lists Twitter pulls. They do it for big advertisers, but you can use the custom audience feature to upload your own if you have an intern handy to research handles. Keep in mind you’ll need a lot of them (like, thousands) to get significant reach.

Target Other’s Followers on Twitter: This is one of the most useful features I’ve used to get significant reach into audiences with specific persona profiles or niches. Yes, you can target followers of competitors, but don’t forget trade publications, thought leaders they follow and related products.

Interests: The ability to pull targeting from rich data in social media is what sets it apart from other advertising. Want to get your post in front of people who love eating organic? Well, if they’ve posted about it, engaged with conversations about it, or follow organic brands there’s an audience for you.

Hashtags: Unique to Twitter, you can target people who engage in certain hashtag conversations. This is different from sponsoring and owning a hashtag for a period, that costs mega bucks. You can include the hashtag in your post (or not) and get your message into the community where the topics are happening. This includes product, brand, or statement hashtags. The more specific or long tail your hashtags are, the more relevant your targeting.

For example, I recently began working with a float therapy spa. The hashtag #floating has the highest volume of conversation on the topic. However, it’s a mixed bag with unrelated topics that have nothing to do with float tanks. “Floating” is used to describe web design or floating down a river with a beer in your hand. (I’ll take the latter!) Using the long tail hashtag #floattherapy we purposely avoid people seeing our ad who have no interest in what they offer.

LinkedIn B2B Targeting

If you want to get very specific in your B2B targeting this is the place to be. The self-serve ad dashboard can narrow your target to industry, company size, a company or job title. The ads run in-feed if you’re advertising a post from your company page. The PPC style ads run in the right rail similar to Facebook. The drawback is that it’s pricier than other ad platforms I’ve tested and the ad format is not very engaging (unlike Facebook) with tiny thumbnails and stunted short headline/description copy. I’d use LinkedIn advertising for highly relevant B2B content and niche targeting for top of funnel lead gen.

Go Mobile or Bust

If what you’re offering isn’t mobile friendly you may as well not waste your money in social advertising. Or, on driving links to your website organically for that matter. 83% of Facebook users and 78% of Twitter users do so using a mobile device. Be sure your ad creative and what you’re linking to (contest app, blog, shopping cart or forms) are in tip-top shape for mobile to get the results you’re looking for.

Video Ads Are the Trend

Facebook, Twitter, and of course YouTube, will run video advertising. If you’re using video run it natively in the platform. Facebook provides its own video post type and has been working hard to enhance their metrics. Twitter rolled out native video last week and Twitter video ads have been in Beta since last year. (Tip: ask your rep to open up the feature in your ad dashboard.) YouTube is highly competitive and it’s a good idea to tie it to your search marketing program.

Social Media Advertising on Small Budgets

Reason number 1,000 why I love social advertising… It doesn’t take big budgets. You can boost a post for as little as $10 in Facebook (depending on your audience size) and run a great little campaign on Twitter or LinkedIn for a few hundred.

Most social ad platforms are self-serve. In December Pinterest launched promoted pins advertising which can benefit retailers from all of the shopping activity that occurs in the boards. Tumblr enhanced its ad product with Yahoo network delivery and many big advertisers have latched onto it. Great to check out if you are content marketing to millennials.

We’re all waiting for Instagram to open up but don’t hold your breath. They are only working with big advertisers on prescribed creative that won’t send everyone ghosting like MySpace. I’ve heard first-hand that it is so tightly watched that Mark Zuckerberg will have Instagram ads removed that look salesy at a moments notice.

There are whispers that Snapchat is testing ads, but at $750,000 per day I suggest waiting it out.

In my own tests across clients in multiple industries Facebook and Twitter have been by far the most efficient spends. Particularly against LinkedIn. It might surprise you to know that I’ve also gotten the best conversions and value using Twitter for both B2B and B2C advertising. Use a small budget to test and optimize ads with an expert before you come to conclusions about the performance of any one social network. 

Are you ready to add paid social to your social marketing mix? Get in touch with Fandom Marketing to see how we might help.

Get on our email list (see right side bar) to stay tuned for Part 2: How-to optimize spends in social media advertising.

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